The Kununurra Historical Society (KHS), was inaugurated at a meeting on June 5th 1986 and on Sunday June 5th 2016, we celebrate the end of our 30th year with the official launch of "75 Years of Ord Irrigation," on March 31st 2016. See over 8,000 images, digitised and documented, at our Museum Open days in 2016 to 8 pm on those days - See the KHS - Kununurra Museum - Events Page. The Archives and Museum of the KHS have come a long way in 30 years and the archives are constantly growing, becoming ever more useful as a rich research resource.
There will be several major anniversaries in the East Kimberley during 2011. Wyndham and Hall's Creek, having been established for 130 years since 1886 and the start of Wyndham and the Kimberley gold rush.
During June and July 2016 it will be 95 Years ago in 1921, that the SA & WA Government Astronomers, Dodwell & Curlewis respectively, travelled to the Kimberley by ship to Wyndham, then on to Argyle Station, hosted by MP Durack, to determine how far east of Greenwich they were, hence the position of the WA/NT border on the ground. Read more about the 1921 WA/NT Border Determinations.
Another milestone for the Ord in 2011, being 70 years since Kimberley Michael Durack set up the "Ord River Experimental Farm," the first Research Station in the Kimberley Region, during 1941, on the banks of Carlton Reach, which paved the way for the Ord River Scheme, being the first serious attempt at tropical agriculture experimentation in the Ord River area. Read more from the Carlton Reach Pump Engine page.
Looking back 55 years ago, to 1961, which was when the town of Kununurra was gazetted on February 10th 1961, still being in an embryonic state, as work got underway. At the beginning of 1961, Bandicoot Bar, was just that, still the rocky bar, that held back the “splendid miles of water”, that was Carlton Reach. Land in the Ord valley was being surveyed, and the Bandicoot Bar being prepared to anchor down the Ord River Diversion Dam, work having started in October 1960. The first houses in the bushland of Kununurra, below Kelly's Knob, in Cajuput Street, had been built and occupied and the first few of ten "elevated" houses were being completed. These would house the staff of the Diversion Dam contractors, Christiani, Nielsen & Clough (CNC), between the present day school site and White Gum Park, with work on the elevated houses being complete early in 1961.
By November 1960 the Ord Scheme's first channel was in place to service the Northern Developments, Ord River, Pilot Farm (now the Airport block) with twin submersible pumps feeding out of Carlton Reach, three years before the Diversion Dam's completion and two years before the main channel and pump station were complete. The first crop of wet season rice would be harvested in 1961. View images of 1961
Here and now, as we commemorate these Anniversaries approaching, the KHS will be making this history accessible to the public, to show the significance of these events, in interpreting the very interesting, development, and history of the Ord River Irrigation Area.
Whether you are an individual, family, organization or business, and have records of significance to the history of the Ord, please consider their future preservation, in the Kununurra Historical Society purpose built Archive facility. It is of great importance to preserve Kununurra's history, with an ever transient population, the KHS is actively seeking to collect, original or digital photographic collections, and documents, of significance to this history, from past, present and future residents. If you know of records that should be preserved for the future, please Contact KHS.
KHS Needs You!
Do you have an interest in history? Would you enjoy outings to photograph and document locate historic sites? Perhaps you have skills to help with, writing up and accessioning archives, photographing our many and varied documents and photographs to digitally capture records, or researching and writing. Maybe you have excellent PC skills, or would just like to volunteer some time and learn about the Museum and Archives. Perhaps you have knowledge and skills that could greatly assist the work that can be done. KHS is a totally volunteer organization, with a handful of active members and any help you can give, would be very welcome. For further information contact us, any time, either at the Kununurra Archives & Museum, Coolibah Drive, Kununurra, where we meet at 7pm on the 1st Tuesday of the month.
Dry Season Hours - See - Contact KHS